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Throwback Thursday: Magic Johnson the rookie delivers on the biggest stage

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This week’s Throwback Thursday comes from the 1980 NBA Finals series between the LA Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Game Six of the 1980 NBA Finals is constantly earmarked as the greatest performance of Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson’s career. With the talismanic Kareem Abdul-Jabbar missing the game through injury, a huge void was left in the Lakers frontcourt.

Magic Johson was playing in his rookie year and had wowed crowds throughout America with outstanding performances. Despite standing at six-foot-nine, Johnson was employed as a point guard for the entire season. His link-up with ‘The Big Fella’ was a key component of the Lakers success, but KAJ was unavailable for the all-important game in Philadelphia.

Without the influential KAJ, nobody gave the Lakers a chance. However, the decision to start Johnson at centre would prove to be a priceless one.

Magic lived up to his nickname and despite being just 20 years of age, he put in one of the greatest performances in NBA Finals history. The youngster from Lansing, Michigan finished with 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists to give the Lakers their first NBA Championship in eight years.

Johnson’s rookie year would set the tone for a career that would see him win 5 NBA Championships, 3 NBA Finals MVPs and 3 NBA MVPs.

Sport Is Everything. Richard Barrett.

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